Lemon curd cupcake

Our precious little hen has been laying her butt off to supply us with her golden-delicious eggs! {she would lay one every second day}

I had to save up a few days’ worth to be able to make something and before I knew it, I had half a dozen. What to do..?

I made lemon curd and cupcakes with a lemon curd icing.

For the cupcakes:

115g butter

115g castor sugar

115g self-raising flour

2 eggs {freshly laid is best!}

1 tbs milk

Beat together the sugar & butter until nice and fluffy.  Lightly beat the eggs and slowly add to the sugar & butter mixture until well incorporated.  Sift the flour and fold into the butter mixture. Gently fold in the milk until you have a smooth & silky consistency.

Spoon into cupcake papers in a cupcake tin and bake at 180C for 15 minutes until cooked and a toothpick comes out clean. {makes 12 cupcakes}

For the lemon curd:

3 small free range eggs {freshly laid of course!}

100g sugar

2 tbs butter

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk together the eggs, sugar & lemon juice in a heatproof bowl and cook over a pot of boiling water {double boiler} while constantly stirring. When the mixture has thickened quite a bit, remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Place in a jar and refrigerate. {makes about 200ml}

For the lemon curd icing:

Mix icing sugar with lemon curd, add a little butter and a splash of milk – mix well to create a smooth icing. {sorry, but I just don’t always keep track of quantities – just go with the flow until you have the desired result!}

Pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes and top with more lemon curd.

Enjoy! X

Lemon curd cupcake image

Scrummy Cake Pops

Cake pops – ok, nothing new there, but perhaps forgotten a little bit?

Now, you get cake pops, and then you get… Cake Pops! I’m not talking about small bite-sized ‘cakes’ – the ones you bake in special cake pop pans – although those are also yummy, I’m talking about ooey-gooey-yummy-scrummy cake pops!

These pops are made from proper cakes – call it cake-upcycling if you want. You can either take an entirely new cake – icing and all, or use leftover cake.

I used a whole vanilla sponge cake (about 1kg) with a bit of fondant icing and added some more plain butter icing (about half a cup mixed icing) and apricot jam (3 tbs – this makes it more ooey-gooey and helps to bind them together nicely).

Use a fork to crumble up the cake and mix in the jam and icing. Roll into small bite-sized balls and then roll into castor sugar – refrigerate until you need them, so they will set nicely. When you’re ready to serve, place onto sticks and vóila!

{You can do any flavour and dusting – another good one is to dip them into lime flavoured icing and roll into shredded coconut.}

Enjoy! x

Vanilla cake pops

Indian Nostalgia…

We lived in India for a year and a half and returned in Feb this year for the birth of our youngest son and hubby’s work on a new project…

But oh, how I often  reflect on our travels and adventures there… It’s truly a fascinating place.

My latest nostalgic thought is of the Taj – no, no, not the Taj Mahal {although that is so spectacular and a must-see!}, the Taj Hotel group, or more specifically, the Taj Bengal in Kolkata. You see, here you are royalty… You get to experience the best in Indian hospitality and service. The Taj Bengal really also felt like our home-away-from-home in India, because we went there so often and could just relax and get some proper R&R. After a less-than-glamorous 4 hour train trip from where we stayed in Jamshedpur, the Taj was like this haven of peace, serenity and cleanliness.

Anyways, so the best part for me was always breakfast at the Bengal – not buffet breakfast, oh no darling, a special creation à la carte. We’ve tried many different options from the buffet, because it always looks so spectacular, but then you’re just left feeling too full and not completely satisfied.

So, we’ve narrowed down the Big Breakfast Dilemma to two winning options:

Both start off the same, with a big bowl of fresh seasonal fruit and a sprinkle of nuts, a cappuccino with foam and a plain baked yoghurt. After that we will either have eggs Benedict or a poached egg with a side of smoked salmon. I always ended my breakfast with sweet masala chai. Believe me, these are tried and tested and definitely the best options. Of course, you have to try the Indian breakfast selection of dosas, idlies, sambals and chutneys when you’re traveling there, but for us, our ‘western’ breakfast was our special little treat because you just don’t get those things in Jamshedpur. Our normal breakfasts at home there, were the dosas, idlies, parathas, etc.

To get back to the baked yoghurts – oh…my…word… – these are so yummy! It’s more like a pudding than a breakfast item. I could easily scoff down 2!

I often made these at home while living in India and have actually forgotten about them, until just the other day when I was chatting to a friend about our Indian travels.

I decided to make these last night {as dessert with a Rooibos & orange compote} and they didn’t disappoint! In fact, they tasted even better than I remembered.

Baked yoghurt:

Equal parts of condensed milk (I use an entire tin and then use the tin to measure out the cream & yoghurt), plain yoghurt and cream.

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix together and pour into ramekins or small cups. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 120C for 15 minutes. Let them cool in the oven and place in the fridge to cool completely.

Serve with aromatic orange compote:

1 orange, peeled and segmented

1/4 cup of sugar

3 whole cloves

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 sachet of Rooibos tea

1/2 cup of water

Let these all simmer until the tea has fully infused and the liquid reduced to a thin syrupy consistency. Let it cool before serving.

Enjoy! X

Baked yoghurt with Rooibos & orange compote image

Teatime Cupcakes

I just love cupcakes – I mean, who doesn’t?!

‘Life’s better with a cupcake’ and ‘Keep calm and have a cupcake’ are two great cupcake quotes – I have no idea who originally said it, but it’s so true! My best days are all started with a cupcake (or cake) and a cup of good filter coffee. What can be better! Ok, it’s not the most nutritious or healthy of breakfasts, but as long as you follow it with a hearty bowl of fruit or some boiled eggs, you’re good to go!

These cupcakes are scone-inspired, with a dollop of jam (I used chunky apricot) and whipped cream (sweetened with a teensy bit of vanilla castor sugar).

2 cups of flour

2/3 cups of castor sugar

2 tsp baking powder

125g butter

2 eggs

1/2 a cup of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all together – yes, all at once! Don’t you just love it?! Spoon into cupcake cases in a cupcake baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at 180C.

This recipe makes 12 large cupcakes.

Enjoy! X

Tea time cupcakes

#dessert tonight: Custard Cake

Custard Cake

Truly delicious and super easy too!  I got this recipe from Pinterest – from another blogger I follow: white on rice couple… So I thought I’d try it out – and it didn’t disappoint! (I adjusted the recipe a tiny bit to work better for me…)

http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/magic-custard-cake/

113g butter

2 cups of milk

4 eggs, separated

150g icing sugar

1 tbs water

115g flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160C, lightly butter baking dish.

Melt butter & set aside. Warm milk and set aside.

Whip egg whites to stiff peaks (add a few drops of vinegar to help eggs stay stable) and set aside.

Beat egg yolks & sugar, mix in melted butter & water until evenly incorporated.

Mix in the flour. Add milk & vanilla – slowly – until well mixed.

Fold in egg whites using a whisk – ensure all big chunks are mixed in properly (it will look a bit curd-like.. All normal!)

Pour batter (very liquid batter) into oven dish and bake at 160C for 40-45minutes until the top is golden and set. Let it cool completely before removing from dish, dust with icing, cut and serve.

This will be delicious with some fresh strawberries or raspberries!

Enjoy! X

Tapas-style platter & pannacotta for dinner

What can I say – I have a teensy bit of an obsession with pannacotta…

The first time I made it, the gelatine didn’t dissolve properly and I used too much – leaving a weird blob of gelatine at the bottom. I made it again a few times and it either came out too runny, too ‘solid’ or too creamy. Well I suppose it can never be too creamy, but maybe the portions were too big and it was just too much ‘richness’..

So, I tried it again tonight, with half buttermilk and half cream and I set the gelatine in water first (might sound obvious, but all previous recipes I used called for the gelatine to be added straight to the warm cream mixture) and then added it to the cream mixture. This worked much better!  (Basic pannacotta recipe from Donna Hay – love her! – with my addition of peach & apricot.)

So here it is – buttermilk pannacotta with peach & apricot:

1 cup of cream

1 cup of buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp gelatine

2 tbs water

1/2 a cup of icing sugar

2 tsp chunky apricot jam

1/2 a peach, cut into thin slices

Mix gelatine with water, stir and set aside.  Heat cream, buttermilk, vanilla & sugar until sugar has dissolved. Add gelatine and let it dissolve properly.  Pass through a sieve and set aside.

Next, place peach slices into 2 cups or small ramekins and top with a teaspoon apricot jam in each. Pour pannacotta mixture onto the fruit, refrigerate for at least 7 hours until set.

To serve, simply invert onto a plate (insert a sharp knife and edge it all around the cup to loosen) and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

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{Best pannacotta ever!! Seriously – SO yum – a real winner!}

With summer on our doorstep, I decided to serve up a platter with all sorts of delights that we can simply eat ‘finger-food-style.

My platter consisted of:

Grilled aubergine (Brush with olive oil and grill on a griddle pan)

Goats cheese

Danish feta cheese

Roasted, cooled beets (leftover from our Heritage Day feast)

Assorted lettuce leaves

Marinated tomatoes (2 diced tomatoes marinated in salt, freshly chopped garlic and olive oil)

Slices of cabanossi sausage (smoked & cured pork sausage)

Crispy grilled chicken livers (dusted in flour, paprika & cayenne pepper, fried in butter & olive oil. To get them nice & crispy, place a weight on top while frying. I use the bottom of another pan or pot – this also helps to prevent splatter from when the livers ‘pop’)

Perfect summer’s meal – refreshing, romantic and delicious! We enjoyed our dinner outside on the patio with a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio.

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Enjoy! X

Birthday cupcake – Red Velvet meringue

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Today is hubby’s birthday and as you do on a birthday, you you have cake for breakfast!

Our favourite red velvet – from a cake recipe of a fellow baker friend, Rozanne Pieters, and my own twist: a light and fluffy meringue topping.

250g butter (I used salted)

125ml sunflower oil

2.25 cups of sugar

2 free range eggs

1 bottle of red food colour (40ml)

1 cup of buttermilk

10ml baking powder

2ml salt

2.5 cups of flour (all purpose)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Cream butter, oil & sugar together.  Add buttermilk, red food colour & eggs.  Add all dry ingredients and fold into the wet mixture. Place dollops of the mixture into cupcake casings in a muffin pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 180C for 20mins.  A toothpick should come out dry when you test it.

For the meringue topping, whisk 1 egg white while slowly adding about half a cup of castor sugar.  Add shelf a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a pinch of cream of tartar. Whisk until glossy and soft peaks form.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy! X